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Are You Overstimulated?

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    In these modern times, you are accessible. You can be reached 24 hours a day,  7 days a week and there are very few minutes to breath. By the time you update your Facebook status, send out a few tweets, check your blog, your phone is ringing. If the phone is not ringing, then there is a text message. If not a text message, there is email notifications on your phone and some of us have gotten smart, and we have Tweetdeck. To be perfectly honest, I think we are all over stimulated.

    If you are wondering if you are over stimulated, here are some prime examples. I could not find my keys, and the last place I remember going was the fridge. True enough, my keys were in the fridge sitting on top of the plates that I had planned to put in the cupboard. Stop laughing, what was the last thing you remember actually finishing?

    Paul Hammerness and Megan Moore, a couple of Harvard Professors, wrote a  lovely book titled Organize Your Mind, Organize Your Life. These two brainiacs say that the occasional misplacing of your keys is the start of a distraction epidemic. Disorganization leads to distraction which leads to clutter, information overload, poor works habits and strained relationships. They apply the tip to just S.T.O.P. The acronym stands for step back, think, organize your thoughts, and proceed with what needs to be done.

    I would like to STOP, but I am too stimulated with stuff to take the step back. I want to think but I am too busy thinking about what I need to do. I am trying to organize my thoughts but my iPod keeps going off because Aida is trying to steal my Mayorship on Foursquare. GIJane has just commented on Facebook about the comment I made on her wall and Devron has just posted a comment on Funny Ass Picture of the Day and I have to keep up. Shut up, it is important. It is important to me. I need to know these things people!

    However, I plan to proceed to a place of happiness and of calm. I realize I am overstimulated because half of the time I cannot turn my brain off to sleep. Those smart asses at Harvard say that I would have less stress and more order in my life if I log off of Twitter, put down my iPod and pick up their book. I tell them to STOP. I don’t plan to over stimulate their wallets. So there Harvard doctors!

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Can you hear me now?

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          If you want to understand what is going on across the country or take the pulse of the nation, take a look at the commercials. Commercials can give you a perfect snapshot of what is happening in the workplace and where our youth are headed.  Recently, I was unable to sleep and noticed this Vonage commercial. I found very little, if any humor in this advertisement.

            If you look closely at the commercial, there are several people waiting in line.  This is money that shop owner is not making and his customers are not being served.  Sadly, this occurrence is not just happening in this advertisement, but in stores everywhere.  Here is the rub. It may appear cute in the ad, but in reality, this employee is costing you money.

This same, self-serving employee is working in stores and businesses across the country.  This employee is probably working next to you.  Oh, you complain about them being slackers, but really, are you doing anything about it? In our current economy, we cannot afford to be complacent.  Companies are sending jobs overseas because we as American workers feel entitled and often take our home lives to work. Our cell phones are becoming an extension of our hands and we are becoming less and less efficient and more proficient at goofing off.

The gentleman in line who pretends to choke the waitress is symbolic of how many of us feel when we patronize Mom and Pop shops.  We want to give them the business, because we know, that if America is going to become upright again, it is going to take the small business owner to make it happen.  However, bad service is not rewarded with return customers. We live in an instant age.  If I cannot get it here, I can get it across the street.  I am not going to wait for your employee to get off the phone to provide me service.  I am going to walk out of this door, take my business elsewhere, and never come back. Again, it is instant.  I am going to post it to my Facebook page and then I am going to Tweet it.  In less than an hour, nearly 500 people are going to know that your business provided me lousy service.  Hey, can you hear me now?

If your employees, co-workers, and subordinates are not there to serve the customers, but to pull a paycheck, help them find employment elsewhere. Someone else could really use that job.  If these  employees are not engaged and feel as if they are no longer a part of helping your company grow, then obviously where they are working is not the right fit. It is not the right fit your customers and not the right fit for your bottom line.

Bad service costs you money.  Bad employees cost companies millions of dollars. Loss of revenue means doors are closing.  Closed doors means there are no jobs for our kids, our retirees and eventually us. I have no qualms whatsoever calling an employee out. If your job is to provide me, the customer, service, then call your mother, brother, baby daddy on your own time and your own dime.

Do all of us a favor. Put down your cell phone.  You don’t look important. If anything you look ignorant.  If what you have to say is really that important, excuse yourself to make the call.  Don’t hold up the line, don’t hold up my time, and stop holding your employer hostage with your bad habits.

But She is My Friend…………………….

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After the week I have had, I am thoroughly convinced that people are losing their minds! First I receive a text out of the blue from a friend who just has to see me, and invites me for drinks on Saturday night. Secondly, I receive an email from another friend who is itching to scrapbook but want to have lunch first and them get started about 3 pm after her hubby comes back to be able to sit with the dog. Last, but not least, I literally run into an old friend in Wal-Mart, who avoids me. Me? What did I do to you? She treated me as if she caught me sleeping with her husband.

Let me back up for a minute and start with friend one and the call out of nowhere. Initially, a month ago, she calls and tells me she is having a get together for the ladies at the church and she wants me to come over. She did not invite me as a guest, but as an extra pair of hands. I guess this was supposed to be our bonding time. She actually expected me to show up and work my butt off serving her guest. I refused.

Fast forward two months, her over complicated life is about to swallow her up and she knows the perfect friend to call. This of course would be me. How the bleep do you figure that I have nothing better to do with time other than make you feel better about yourself and your sorry life choices? She was buying lunch, I wanted hot wings, so I went. I made her feel better and she was proud to say she calls me friend.

The second friend, which, we haven’t know each other that long, we really aren’t that close, and really haven’t had a chance to truly bond. Our first night out with her and her hubby, they brought the 10 year old. Understandaly, you didn’t have a sitter. Second time we met, she left the windows down on the car and I thought, well maybe she doesn’t like air conditioning. There was a dog in the back seat. I was informed that the dog had some issues and did not like to be left home alone.

Two weeks later, we are planning to get together to scrapbook. She said she has to bring her dog.

I. Don’t. Have. A . Dog.

She said he would be fine if I had shade in my back yard. What makes you think I want dog crap in my yard? I can see making a concession for your 10 year old, even considering I don’t have one, but for your dog? You have lost your damn mind!

Last but not least, to my former friend in the store, I am sorry if I have done something to offend you. I am even sorrier if you have done something to offend me that I have yet to learn. I am sorry that we have come to this point in our relationship. Which leads me to this thought, why do I call these people friend?

I am starting a running list of my new dirty words and friend comes in at number two. I am uncertain if we have entered such and electronic world where knowing the intimacies of your life via your Tweets and Facebook posts, makes us close. It does not. It makes you a person who is losing touch with reality. Where were you in your book of “Hello, God, it’s me Magaret…” that no one answered you back?

If your friends do not have small children, then it is not okay to bring your child to dinner. If your friend does not have a dog, then why would you want to bring yours to my house? If I don’t call you to vent and unload my problems, then why do you think it is okay to do this to me? Why, because you call me friend? Out of curiosity, what do you think I call you?

If you are avoiding me in the store, then the problem lies within you. I have not wronged you and you will not afford me the opportunity to make it right. Dictionary.com defines friend as “a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard.” If you hold these people you call friend in high regard, then treat them as such and not as a person who owes you something, your personal counselor, or someone you need to hate in order to feel alive.

On the other shoe, if she gets drunk every time you go out, and you have to be their babysitter, you can also scratch them off your list as a friend. If you constantly have to bail them out, literally and figuratively, then maybe you should not call them friend. Today I am making a list, and noting the qualities I like in those who support me and I them and why I choose to call them my friend. I am glad you are on my list.

Are you managing your brand?

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                I read a lot of Blogs.  I read a lot of books.  I read a lot.

I am subscribed to several RSS Feeds that keep me up to date and in the know.  In turn, I relay this information on to those who are following, subscribing or listening to me. The other day, I ran across an update from some group that offers to help you obtain 100,000 followers on Twitter. I signed up back in February of 2011 and for some reason, when the email update came in, I read it.  I was shocked.  There was information in there which was really relevant to what I wanted to know. There was information in this article that told me things that I needed to do.  There was information in this update that reminded me that I am a brand. There was information in this article that told me ways to better manage my brand. Then it donned on me, that I was in fact a brand and I had not been doing a very good job of managing my product.

My product is words. I am a Wordsmith. I am the local Word brand manager of where to go, what to do, and what is hot. If you are having a local event and you want people to come, I am usually invited. Why? Not because I am Über cool, but because if it is something interesting and new, I am usually there sharing my Words with others and why they should be there too. If it is run of the mill and I can see it any day or any time, more than likely, I am not going and will not share any Words about this event. If I am going you will know because I will check it at the location and send out words about cost, the happenings and if you may be interested in coming out as well. I usually check in on my favorite app called Foursquare. I have over 1,295 physical check ins from Anchorage, Alaska to San Juan, Puerto Rico. I hold 21 Mayorships and have 64 badges. I often leave tips and clues on businesses in Augusta that can earn you points and locations about town to unlock badges. Look for my words at your next check in.

I have a blog full of words that tell you all of the out-of-the-way places in Augusta that many people forget are there. These little places are “Off the Beaten Path”, and offer unique gift ideas, great bargains and meals that you can afford. I even use my words feature local artists and events worth coming out to support. I am not featuring these areas for any reason other than, hey, look what I found and to let others know that are many things to do and enjoy in our city.  Along with my Examiner.com blog, I also have a personal Blog where I just get words off my chest or rather out of my head and onto a piece of paper. I called these words, “I was Just Thinking.”  Am I going to save the world, why hell no, but hey, I was just thinking about a few words I wanted to share them and guess what, other people want to know my words too because I have subscribers. And I thank you for reading my words.

I also have Twitter followers who follow me @assistingu where I provide up to date words in the form of information from quotes to tips to keep you from overspending while you shop.

 

“Avoid overspending by eating sunflower or pumpkin seeds while you shop. Release of tryptophan calms you down.#assistingu

 

I found, in reading other words from this article, that I was following words from people who were not following my words. You can find those unfriendly Wordmongers who you follow but who don’t follow you by using http://friendorfollow.com. I also found that I could really go viral and tap into the viral nature by encouraging retweets of my words. This can again be a condition of entry to a giveaway; or you can invite people to ‘pay with a tweet’ to download a chapter, e-book or other resource. Do this using www.paywithatweet.com. I also found that you also gain a higher position in the Twitter directories such as http://www.wefollow.com . I then began using more words in sentence from about how to and began to finds ways that my words could actually assist you.

 

I have a local word building group at Augusta Writers where 1,253 people enjoy tips and tools that keep them inspired be word craftsmen.  Since I am an avid reader, moving quickly toward voracious, I began to throw around my adjectives and encourage others to download free eBooks to encourage other wordsmiths. I do so in hoping that their words can also encourage you to use your own words. If not, there are weekly word combination challenges, updates on word building conferences, word smithing workshops, hard bound word festivals and more. The challenges are fun and can be deceptively difficult and sometimes can require the use of an adverb.

Your three words for Tuesday, August 9th are: Cinnamon toast, toilet bowl, and red handled scissors.  You many begin.

Wordsmithing can be the start of a journey. And speaking of journey’s, I collected some words that formed the syllables of  travel club which is a group of friends and associates who are over 40 and like to go places but often find it can be expensive to vacation they way that you really want. We put our words together. We found that if you do it as a group, you can save money by leveraging your words with dollar signs. In 2012, our words are cruising to Belize.  In 2013 our words are heading to the Montreal Jazz Festival. I like the sounds jazz notes make and so do my friends.

This is who I am.

I am a word wrangler. I subscribe to learn a new word a day.

I collect words and put them together.  I am paid by you sharing my word collections.

These collected words are resold to subscribers that assist you in going about your day.

These words can tell you places to eat.

My words can tell you how to win prizes.

My words suggest books to read.

My collection of words can save you money.

My words can help you feel better.

I manage my words very carefully.

I am Assistingu and this is my brand.

What is it exactly that you do and how are you managing your brand?

Too Much Information

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In an instant messaging status updating world, our days are filled with the overflow of information on our personal lives.  Depending on the number of friends and followers, one can be constantly bombarded with information of other’s existence.  Those social vampires that you have avoided personal contact with are now filtered through your phone and they still find a way to suck the life out of you with their problems. We certainly have the ability on Facebook to “hide” their ramblings, but how do you adjust the streaming feed in real life?  Or has it progressed to a level of a constant need for attention that has removed our ability to know when we are sharing too much information? As the Queen of Tweetdeck updates, allow me to explain.

              As I was undergoing another round of nap therapy, the thick accented patient next to me was asking the therapist a question that she could not decipher.  He looked to me for help so I translated his words. This opened the door for Therapy Lady to unload her sadness unto my mat. First she explained that husband number two was also Puerto Rican and she should have understood his thick accent. My eyebrows arched in disbelief, one, because the gentleman next to me was German, and two, who asked her. Evidently misreading my arched brows as “tell me more,” she then proceeded to inform me that her first husband, a high school sweetheart, was Bipolar, and when he hit child number two with a backhand, she knew she had to leave him. 

            Arched eyebrows now furrowed, inspired her to continue this tale and let me know that husband number two was in jail. I tilted my head looking for the hidden camera while waiting for someone to jump out and tell me that I was being “Punked.” Ashton did not answer my prayer because Therapy Lady continued this depressing diatribe by informing me that husband number two molested her 13-year-old. Eyebrows are again arched. She then says, “yeah, and he was quickly escalating towards something more serious.” Furrowed brows again, this time with my hands up, inspired her to add “yeah, I’m single now, and don’t want to be alone, but I can’t trust anyone else….” 

Was that a tear I saw trickle down her cheek?  I am now frowning, more serious than three years of him diddling your daughter, who thought there was nothing wrong with step daddy’s behavior because you didn’t think it was necessary to explain good touching and bad touching? Was it more serious than you using your daughter’s molestation as a sympathy pump and now it is all about you because it wasn’t your fault? More serious than me wanting to take the ice bag off my knee and knock some sense into your empty head? How could it possibly be more serious than the contempt I feel for you right now?

            Our heavy accented friend read my face correctly for he cleared his throat, which now drew the attention of Ms. Munchausen By-Proxy –Therapy-Lady and reminded her that she was actually at work. My lips, now pursed, and sister girl is evolving in my eyes, which are slowly widening as I raise myself to a sitting position. She must have taken the visual cues for what they actually were this time because she took the hell off.

            Don’t ask, because I don’t know what I was going to say or going to do, I just knew I had experienced enough “oversharing” for an afternoon.  But here is the sad part, I did not report her. We are in a recession and she is a single mom. However, if she should choose to be so dumb and share with me once more, I will offer her this advice.  Your friends are there to share your burdens in life, not complete strangers. Your friends will also get tired of listening to you go on about poor me.  Take your misery off of your Facebook status and stop taking the phone into the bathroom with you; the person on the other line does not want to hear you pee and I don’t want to pee and hear you.  I am not investing in Botox so stop trying to read my expressions as I care and you should unburden yourself on me. Last but not least, shut the bleep up! Be miserable by yourself and stop subjecting those around you to your pity party. If this isn’t enough information, then I will plainly state that some stuff, you should keep between you, your God and a good psychologist.

Surviving My Addiction….to Facebook.

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I was reluctant to admit that I had a problem. Like most addicts it did not become real until I looked in the mirror and found myself with a love jones to get to it, to feel it in my fingers, to connect with my new-found poison and drink it in. My family and friends all knew but none wanted to confront me, but I had to confront myself with a an intervention. I can now say it with pride as I start my recovery, Hi, I am Cheryl and I am a Facebook addict.

It started so innocently. I was speaking to an old college beau and he mentioned that “You should be on Facebook.” I was familiar with the social application, but at the time, you had to have an .edu address to be a part of the network for college students only. Evidently I was misinformed, Facebook had grown up. I had a few extra minutes and I logged on. Please understand, I already had a MySpace account and had gathered some famous movie star and recording friends. I felt like I was moving and shaking, but then I tried Facebook.

It was like manna in my hands and felt as if I had found something that understood me, where I wanted to be and things I needed to say. The world was at my fingertips and all I had to do was push the little button that say “connect”. Yet, as innocently as it started I began to notice changes in my behavior. I had to upgrade my phone to a Palm OS with a Facebook interface so that I could stay connected anywhere and at anytime.

I started slow with just one or two friends and a couple of game applications, hereinafter referred as apps. I connected with my son and a few of his pals that were all at my house, no harm in “friending” them. Then I began to connect with my old high school pals and a few from college. My Army buddies began to sign on and suddenly, people I had not heard from in years were a mouse click away. I had to learn the hard way though, I was in a Mafia, working on a farm in Farmville and was hanging out in Yoville. That turned out to be a waste of time because now I had clients that I had put on Facebook. I went from one account to six in a matter of months, and it was becoming difficult to keep up, so I discovered Tweetdeck.

I did not think it could get worse, but it did. I turned into a Facebook snob. I began to “remove” those friends I thought were undesirable. Friends, who had nothing worthwhile to post but negative updates with comments about other people, were removed. I even went as far to call a few friends and suggest they make their daily post quotes about life until they were able to clean out their list of friends. I even had the audacity to suggest “cooling it” with so many personal pictures and if they really had that many “haters”, why would you tell them where you are going to be every moment of the day? I know….. right?

My addiction is not common place, my addiction is nasty. It is all-consuming. I have addicted others, I have set a standard. I have people who follow my drivel. Why? Because I am addictive. LMBO, yeap, it’s true. Each month I go as far as having a common theme, where my posts are aimed at helping you live a better life. Fancy tidbits of information for websites you did not even know existed for free stuff you didn’t even know you could get. I even set it to music, why, because I am a form of a music and movie savant. I have a photographic memory and love music. I start the day with a praise song and end the day with a pensive piece. Some days, I share my love of music with others and post items on their wall with love notes of “Just because it’s Tuesday”, which has caught on. During Oscar week I posted famous clips from past Oscar winners like On the Waterfront and All About Eve and even included Sydney Poitier’s 1969 acceptance speech.

My favorite fix, I must admit is to post a movie line and see how many people know what it is, while others chime in with other famous lines from the same movie. The high is amazing. It is like being the popular kid in cyberspace. I have to check it at least five or six times a day to see who responded to my post, and to see if the invites that I had received were for events that I actually wanted to go to with people who online, were cool, but did I want to hang out with in real life. I purged my friends list again. If I didn’t want to hang out with you “for real” I didn’t want you in my Facebook sandbox.

        My family wants to stage an intervention, but I don’t think it is THAT bad. I do however, know I need to cutback. And I will, once I make my music selection for the night, so that I can sign out. I am thinking “Why” by Annie Lennox. I know why…and so do you.

Good night my Friends. Ms. Lennox, you have the con……

I may be mad
I may be blind
I may be viciously unkind
But I can still read what you’re thinking